Poland awards ‘Solidarity Prize’ to Crimean Tatar leader
May 8, 2014
Poland on Wednesday awarded a prize for championing democracy and human rights to Mustafa Dzhemilev, the pro-Kiev leader of Crimea's Tatar community who was barred from the region after Russia annexed the peninsula.
The inaugural "Solidarity Prize" was given to Dzhemilev for fighting "for democracy and the respect of rights and civil liberties in Ukraine, especially with regard to the Tatar community," Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters.
The 70-year-old Ukrainian lawmaker and Soviet-era dissident has dedicated his life to defending the rights of his people and commands huge respect among the Tatars.
"He is a defender of Ukraine's integrity," Sikorski, said. "He is someone who, together with his people, has demonstrated that democracy is possible."
Dzhemilev will visit Poland on June 3 to receive his prize, Sikorski said. US President Barack Obama will be among a host of world leaders attending the ceremony in Warsaw.
Poland set up the annual Solidarity Award worth a EUR 1 million to mark the 25th anniversary of its first sem